First, as a parent or a teacher, there are doubts about things to be dealt with while teaching kids yoga. Kids are always in the mood of trying something new and unique. Yoga turns out to be that fresh breath of air for them. For teaching kids yoga, remove the “teacher” persona from your life, and try embracing to the inner child in you. The basic yoga exercises to start with kids; is acro yoga poses by demonstrating these in front of the class. There are rules to be followed while teaching these to kids. You have to be balanced and so much worthy of doing the yoga poses yourself when it comes to teaching kids.
Simple steps for teaching yoga to kids are:
- The tempo of your teaching: For creating the vibe of teaching yoga and focusing the mind of kids, the mats must be kept before their arrival. Start by doing a focus activity for bringing everyone together. It can be a yoga song or even an introduction to the new members of the group. Start with a nice pose like the Sun Salutation and then start with the main part like yoga dance or Acro Yoga. End this yoga exercise short and complete it using short breathing exercises or even mindful meditation. You have to keep the kids engaged all the time and perform at their pace. Be practiced and prepared for being as quick as a child.
- Preparing a flexible lesson plan: Kids are not focused during yoga classes and they don’t like the following same kind of sequence. Yoga classes might not go as well as you plan it. So, you have to deal with some of the tough situations for teaching kids yoga. Always remain open to the new energy around you and keep a basic sense of what you like to do. Keep these simple things in mind for making the class a hit. Before starting with yoga, try reading to the class and take the lead of all the students. It is all about giving what children want and planning. You must have small tricks up your sleeve to bring the interest of the little ones to the yoga poses. Ensure to tell them interesting stories that are related to ancient yoga.
- Keep the playfulness alive: Kids add in so many fun elements like dance, art, musical instruments, drama, etc. while doing the basic yoga classes. Many kids yoga instructors come up with so many new choreographies for teaching the kids to be active and playful in class. Don’t take anything too seriously. There is a fixed schedule to be followed, but be open to all kinds of creative expressions and playing plenty of inquisitive questions. Keep everything playful and it will be fun! Don’t ever burden kids with doing a certain pose, they will learn slowly at their own pace.
- Try using kid-friendly feedback: Unlike adults, kids are always excited about achieving something.For any successful acts, give a hi-fi or do a happy dance. You can give positive feedbacks like Wow, Amazing, etc. Kids love attending competitions and winning rewards at home. You can take out creative print outs like cute certificates or lollipops. Also ask the kids their opinion about how teaching kids yoga is going for them, hear them out. They can come up with useful tips. Give them something exciting during the workshops to help in yoga. Be fun and exciting while you are with the kids.
- Kids cannot be considered as mini-adults: The bodies and thinking process of kids differs from adults. While many adults might be interested in doing yoga, the same might not be the case with kids. Often parents are interested in sending their kids to yoga sessions and most suffer from any personal issues. Adults can repress their feelings but children cannot do that. This becomes a tricky situation for teaching kids yoga. Try to be compassionate and patient for bringing out the positive factors while highlighting the practice sessions. Activities must be there that fits the needs of the children. You can ask them to participate in observation activities or simply remember the yogas more than the physical asanas.
- Growing with the kids: Children are wise, honest, and have some intuition that is mostly forgotten by adults. Adults can look forward to becoming conditioned from the past and become better in the future. But the main thing is living in the present which is mostly practiced by kids. Kids are not afraid of falling and their main purpose is to enjoy and be happy. Sharing time in yoga with kids turns out to be a gift.
Teaching kids yoga can be difficult and takes much of your energy. Providing yoga in schools is a great way of teaching these kids for maintaining their overall physical and mental health. There are so many poses depending on the time of the day and the school schedule. Some of the poses worth trying for kids are listed as under:
- Downward facing dog
It is a classic yoga pose for calming of the frantic energy in your body. It is also known as the “upside-down V” for helping with imagery and describing the shape to the students. It helps in stretching of hamstrings and the hips that tend to get tighter after a long day at school.
Keep your shoulder and hands distance apart and also the same with hips and knees and take the tabletop position. Spread all of your fingers on the yoga mat, tuck in your toes, and press with your hands. Straighten your legs and lift your hips and back for creating the V shape. Allow the head to hang heavily for releasing the neck muscles. Press your hands and lift your hips all at the same time. Hold this position for about 3 to 5 seconds.
- Tree Pose
Tree pose turns out to be a fun balancing act for giving students the energy boost and also helping them in focusing inwards. It helps in improving balance and strengthening of the legs and core.
Keep your feet parallel to each other and place your hands on your hips. Lift your right leg. Find your balance there and when you can balance yourself, place the bottom of the right foot on your left inner thigh. For support, try pressing the right foot against the inner left ankle. Place your palms together at the heart center. If you want to practice challenging practice, you can raise your arms above your head with palms facing each other. Hold this position for about 3 to 5 seconds.
- Alanasana: It is an easy follow-up pose for the strengthening of the ankles, arms, and legs. If students are getting tired in between studies, then they can perform this yoga act for boosting of energy in the body. It is a great way of releasing static energy that remains for long periods.
Take the down dog position and take one foot forward between the hands. Bring your front knee to the front ankle. Keep your back knee lifted by staying high on the ball of the back foot. Use your core for lifting your torso. Raise your arms over your head and relax shoulders from the ears. Take this position for 5-7 breaths.
Some interesting yoga poses to try with kids
Children have a lot of energy in them and channelizing their energy seems to be a hard job. Child’s pose is a beneficial yoga pose for teaching children to calm their energy levels and focusing their mind on a single thing.
Bring your toes to touch and widen your knees to the outer reach on the mat. Sit on your hips towards your back. By bringing your hips closer, move your torso along with the mat by bringing your forehead as close to the mat as possible. Take your fingertips on top of the mat by facing the palms down.
Mountain pose is a great pose for bringing students to a standstill and allowing them to focus on their breaths. It is such an amazing pose for encouraging focus before trying out a balance pose.
After walking to the top of the mat, place your hip and feet apart from each other. Try neutralizing your pelvis. Activate your arms and spread your fingers. Slide your shoulder bones down to your back.
Importance of teaching kids yoga
Kids today have a difficult life and a lot of commitments to fulfill. With the advancement of technology, everything is available at the fingertips and thus, kids need to slow down and focus on their breathing. You don’t have to reinvent yoga poses for kids. You just have to be creative for adding some fun elements to the already existing yoga positions.
Yoga can be a great way of channelizing the kid’s energy into a peaceful and focused place. After feeling refreshed, students can get back to their studies for finishing the day off successfully. Children are unsteady and they need yoga for bringing the balance in their lives. As parents, it is your responsibility to bring out the best in your children.